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Old 05-03-2022, 08:15 AM   #1
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Germantown , TN
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Drop in Lithium Conversion Help

We are looking to upgrade from our 2 AGM batteries to 2 100ah lithium. They will be stored in the outside battery box where the AGMs are now. I have been researching on this site and others and think I have all my bases covered, but want to make sure I am not missing anything before I start clicking "Add to Cart" on expensive equipment. We would like to upgrade our refrigerator from the electric/propane model to a 12v compressor model and also give us more power for boondocking. I understand this setup will not power the A/Cs and have no problem lugging the generator when that is needed. I just want a bit more juice with the 12v fridge and for electronics to get us through a night or two without power.


The current setup: 2021 Flying Cloud 30FB Bunk with factory solar package, 2x90W zamp panels on roof. Converter is WFCO Model WF-9855LiS with the "Lithium Switch". Solar controller is Victron MPPT 150/35. Truck is 2020 Ford F250 Super Duty 6.7L Diesel with optional 397amp alternator upgrade.


My goal is to do the following, which I think would get me where I need to be:


1) Add one more 90W Zamp solar panel to the roof and plug it into the one unused port on the roof box. I believe this will match the two panels that came from the factory.


2) Replace the two AGM batteries in the battery box with two of these LifeBlue 100ah batteries. As these will be in the battery box I was going to get the low temperature models. We are in Memphis, TN and do not get bad winters, but occasionally will be using the trailer below freezing.


3) Run a jumper wire through the Lithium Switch on the Converter so that it switches to a Lithium charging profile:


4) Switch the dial on the solar control to 7, which the manual states is the setting for Lithium


5) Pull the 30A fuse on the truck for charging through the 7-way connector - I am wondering if I even need to do this? I do have the 397amp alternator package from Ford and LifeBlue's website states "ANY alternator can be used without the need for a special regulator or DC-DC converter"


Is there anything I might be missing? As I understand it the LifeBlue batteries give bluetooth connectivity so that I could monitor them from my phone. This would give me 270 watts of rooftop solar for 200ah of lithium batteries. The converter and solar charge controller would be set to lithium charging profile. Thanks to any and all for advice.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:24 AM   #2
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I'm following this because I want to do the exact same thing. I spoke to AM Solar and someone there told me that it's not a good idea to put the LifeBlue's in the battery box, but I wonder if that is correct, and if so, why do they make a heated model? We are in NC, and seldom see temps below freezing when we camp.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:31 AM   #3
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You're on the right track. Consider a Victron DC to DC charger on the feed from your truck thru the 7 pin connector. It will better charge your Lifeblues (which i also have). Finally, while you are at it, add a Victron Shunt so you can monitor your overall usage both during consumption and during charging. Good move on the DC fridge.
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Old 05-03-2022, 08:34 AM   #4
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Are yours in the battery box? How long have you had them?


Quote:
Originally Posted by vanderwielen View Post
You're on the right track. Consider a Victron DC to DC charger on the feed from your truck thru the 7 pin connector. It will better charge your Lifeblues (which i also have). Finally, while you are at it, add a Victron Shunt so you can monitor your overall usage both during consumption and during charging. Good move on the DC fridge.
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Old 05-03-2022, 09:13 AM   #5
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We upgraded our AGMs to 2 SOK 206AH mounted under the bed in our 21GT27FBQ. We added the Victron shunt, lithium PD9145ALV converter, ran 4 ga. Weld cable from truck to Renogy DC2DC 20amp.plenty of power now.
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Old 05-03-2022, 09:58 AM   #6
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Germantown , TN
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Originally Posted by JoeHTP View Post
I'm following this because I want to do the exact same thing. I spoke to AM Solar and someone there told me that it's not a good idea to put the LifeBlue's in the battery box, but I wonder if that is correct, and if so, why do they make a heated model? We are in NC, and seldom see temps below freezing when we camp.

I reached out directly to LifeBlue asking them if they could go in an Airstream battery box. They sent me the following:


"Batteries must be installed in a dry compartment where there is no exposure to direct sunlight, water, road spray, debris or where any item can contact the battery terminals. Each battery must be installed upright and securely fastened to avoid any movement of battery, connections, wiring or corrected devices."


Seems to me like a battery box would work as long as they are securely fastened. I was also going to replace the twist latch on the battery box with something like this just to keep the contents of the battery box away from prying eyes. I know it isn't a heavy duty lock but it would at least prevent a casual thief from seeing inside.
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Old 05-03-2022, 02:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeHTP View Post
I'm following this because I want to do the exact same thing. I spoke to AM Solar and someone there told me that it's not a good idea to put the LifeBlue's in the battery box, but I wonder if that is correct, and if so, why do they make a heated model? We are in NC, and seldom see temps below freezing when we camp.
Freezing temperatures is not really a concern with the heated LiFeBlue models — the problem is that the top of the battery is not completely waterproof.

If you weatherproof the box then you shouldn’t have any issues.

That being said, the pcb board has a moisture strip on it and if for any reason it changes color due to moisture exposure then the factory would probably deny a warranty claim.
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Old 05-03-2022, 03:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MemphisRebel View Post
I reached out directly to LifeBlue asking them if they could go in an Airstream battery box. They sent me the following:


"Batteries must be installed in a dry compartment where there is no exposure to direct sunlight, water, road spray, debris or where any item can contact the battery terminals. Each battery must be installed upright and securely fastened to avoid any movement of battery, connections, wiring or corrected devices."


Seems to me like a battery box would work as long as they are securely fastened. I was also going to replace the twist latch on the battery box with something like this just to keep the contents of the battery box away from prying eyes. I know it isn't a heavy duty lock but it would at least prevent a casual thief from seeing inside.
Hi

The battery box is *far* from watertight and in no way protected from road "stuff". If the batteries need to be protected from the things they list then the battery box will not do the job.

Bob
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Old 05-03-2022, 04:17 PM   #9
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How do you weatherproof a battery box?

Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanlb View Post
Freezing temperatures is not really a concern with the heated LiFeBlue models — the problem is that the top of the battery is not completely waterproof.

If you weatherproof the box then you shouldn’t have any issues.

That being said, the pcb board has a moisture strip on it and if for any reason it changes color due to moisture exposure then the factory would probably deny a warranty claim.
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Old 05-03-2022, 05:33 PM   #10
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I suppose you could add weather stripping to the box lid, seal the I/O ports and add a scupper valve to the bottom — it’s a 12 gauge welded steel box — if that doesn’t qualify as adequate protection from road debris then the batteries would probably be the least of your worries.

The lower 95 of those battery casings are a solid polypropylene basket sump.. gravity is an interesting phenomenon..

Also, after looking at the exterior dimensions of the LiFeBlue 100ah case, there’s actually plenty of space to add 1/2” or 1/4” insulation foam between the steel walls and batteries..

I’m not saying this should be the ideal yardstick, but the question was asked and I really don’t see any cause for concern whatsoever.

It is also worth mentioning that some of the most respected installers routinely install lithium in the battery box.

Frankly, should things go south with the internal separator membrane between the cathode and anode, a exterior metal inclosure is probably far more ideal than a wood cabinet covered with textiles.
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Old 05-03-2022, 05:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MemphisRebel View Post
We are looking to upgrade from our 2 AGM batteries to 2 100ah lithium. They will be stored in the outside battery box where the AGMs are now.
In my opinion this is a bad idea for lithium batteries. I know many people are doing this but that battery box is in a bad place for moisture and temperature extremes. While everyone knows about the cold weather limitations, remember that battery box is riding about 10" above the pavement that can reach 160F in the Southern states during the Summer. The battery box is also directly down wind of the heat generated by the TV.

Each LifeBlue battery has electronics built into the top including a BlueTooth transceiver in each battery.

Spend a little more and mount those LifeBlue batteries inside the trailer. You will get a lighter hitch in the bargain.
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Old 05-03-2022, 05:52 PM   #12
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West Marine will have everything on hand to make that box tight as a drum (if you have the stomach to pay their prices).
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Old 05-03-2022, 09:53 PM   #13
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I installed two Lion UT1300 in my battery box, added a Victron MPPT for solar and replaced the converter with a Victron IP22 and disconnected the charging wire from 7-pin (I read that the lithium can discharge while driving, trying to bring tow vehicle up to lithium voltage. The Victron Orion DC/DC would be the fix.
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Old 05-04-2022, 05:54 AM   #14
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Hi

There are indeed lithium batteries that are designed and recommend for "outside" use. They can be used for a very long time in something like the battery box. While you can do this or that to keep the rain out of the box, turning it into an "indoor" environment is impractical. Simple answer is to use a different battery if you want to put then in the battery box.

Bob
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Old 05-04-2022, 07:48 AM   #15
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Hi

There are indeed lithium batteries that are designed and recommend for "outside" use. They can be used for a very long time in something like the battery box. While you can do this or that to keep the rain out of the box, turning it into an "indoor" environment is impractical. Simple answer is to use a different battery if you want to put then in the battery box.

Bob

Thanks for this information Bob I really appreciate it. I have been researching more and it appears Battleborn may be a better option for going in the battery box. I think I might go that route and add in a Victron SmartShunt into the mix for monitoring.
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Old 05-04-2022, 08:24 AM   #16
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In general, lithium-ion batteries can be charged in an environment up to 113°F and discharged in temperatures as high as 140°F.

Temperatures within 10" of the pavement surfaces easily exceed 150F to 160F in the desert Southwest with outside air temperatures going up to 120F at times. How do I know. With temperature sensors on all 4 trailer tires as part of a TPMS it is pretty easy to get a sense of the temperatures above the pavement.

Even the lead acid batteries have specifications not to use or store above 130F as it will negatively impact battery life.

The AirStream battery box location was chosen during the days where only flooded lead acid batteries were used. These batteries off gas hydrogen sulfide so they have to be located outside the passenger compartment. So the battery box had to be located outside the trailer cabin. This is not a factor for lithium batteries.

Locating lithium batteries inside the trailer will give you better battery reliability, a shorter run to the inverter (less line loss), lighten your tongue weight, avoid battery drain in cold temperatures for heating the batteries and provide a new convenient outside storage location (old battery box). All this for a small extra cost to reroute and shorten the battery leads.
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Old 05-04-2022, 02:06 PM   #17
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I have a 2012 Bambi 22FB, and I would like to install Battle Born Energy Towable 30A 200Ah GC2 Kit. Perhaps somebody has done such an update already and might share an electrical schematic.
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Old 05-06-2022, 01:58 PM   #18
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I have just installed 2 Lion Energy UT1300 in my battery box in march. I also installed the Offgrid Power Pack heating pads and Jacket kit in case of freezing weather. There is a link to that on LE website and they also sell it. I am from Quebec Canada and do get very cold weather when I leave south in November. LE batteries are good to -4F. Lion Energy has an excellent service. I just traveled from Florida to Quebec and am amazed at the difference with the two Lifeline AGM I had. I have 3 Zamp solar panels 80W, a 20a Epever solar charge controller with a MT50 Monitor I reset all the numbers for lithium . I dropped the batteries and Made my box watertight. So far so good, I hit rain on the road and no water inside. I put a plastic plug on one empty hole held with some gasket maker, Gorilla heavy duty tape inside for the bottom holes and duct putty outside I put some Duct putty also at the other holes where the wires come inside inside the box to fil the gaps. I painted the putty with antirust black spray paint over. For the top lid, I stuck a row of weatherstrip memory foam 1/4 I got at Lowes against the inside of the top flat part of the Battery Box, and all round against the outside, I put some Black Butyl tape. I applied some M303 on the Butyl tape because it sort of melts and stick to the lid if not (with hot weather). I added two Magnetic lock on each corner from Industrial Lock and Hardware. no holes at the top , so no water or debris can enter the lock. I used a Step drill bit and a dremmel to work the two new holes. I left the OEM Thumb lock in the middle. I put some Rubber carpeting at the bottom and around (ordinary outdoor carpet from Lowes), I Glued some Marine Carpet material-with some 3M spray-on the sides and underneath the top of the lid, to make sure the poles of the batteries would never touch metal if they were to come loose. I solidified the middle 3/8 rod that was there already to hold the batteries with a big wing nut. (Added a washer and a nylon nut under the box). I used the foam from the battery package to secure the batteries on 2 sides to make sure nothing moves around. I also put a strip of gasket liner over the Hinge ( it was taking water). I stuck it with Gorilla 2 sided tape and made an AD seal caulking Joint at the top part and put some black Butyl tape one each end for the holes gaps, I folded it over a couple inch down. I made 2 x 2/0 cables for the parallel connections and installed a Catastrophic fuse on the positive lead. LE is not that worried about humidity and all. The battery is Limited warrantied for life. More like 3500 cycles. For the converter, I plan to install WFCO 8955 AD REP Auto detect replacement for lithium. I left all else as is .I was told that with only 2 batteries, which is a small battery bank, I would be ok without a DC to Dc charger but I might still instal one for better fast charging when on the road. I use the furnace a lot and its all good, the batteries have remained 100% full since I left 15 days ago. I also put an outdoor thermostat sensor inside the box to monitor the temperature.
I dont use much In the trailer, no micro wave, no coffee machine. Just Mac Book, iPhone, Fridg is on propane. But, I plan to use freezer/cooler. I have a 2017 19' International pulled with a 2017 Colorado Duramax, alternator 140a. I have pictures but don't know how to post them
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Old 05-06-2022, 02:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MemphisRebel View Post
Thanks for this information Bob I really appreciate it. I have been researching more and it appears Battleborn may be a better option for going in the battery box. I think I might go that route and add in a Victron SmartShunt into the mix for monitoring.
This is what I did. BB says their batteries will be fine in the battery box, and that is where AS puts them in their lithium upgrade. That, and BBs 10 year warranty, is good enough for me.
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Old 05-06-2022, 05:05 PM   #20
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If someone wanted additional protection for their batteries the box doesn’t need to be totally 100% water proof. How about drilling several drain holes in the bottom of the battery box, that’s going to keep them relatively dry. It’s easier for me I have a plastic battery box with holes in the bottom in each corner that I drilled, I am not particularly concerned about a few drops of water infiltrating, and really haven’t found any evidence of that.
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